One Player to Watch from Each Women’s T20 World Cup Team

One Player to Watch from Each Women’s T20 World Cup Team

The 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup gets underway at Cape Town on 10 February. The first game is between hosts South Africa and Sri Lanka in Group 1, which also contains holders Australia, Bangladesh, and New Zealand.

Group 2, meanwhile, comprises India, England, Ireland, Pakistan, and the West Indies.

It promises to be a thrilling tournament as a host of teams look to unseat Australia as champions. Ahead of the T20 showpiece, we pick one player from each side to watch out for.


Since her return to the T20I side in January 2022, Grace Harris has stepped up with match winning displays for Australia at crucial times.

The strength of the line up ahead of her means that Harris has rarely been called into action; in the 16 games since her comeback before the Women’s T20 World Cup, she’s batted just six times facing, on average, 16 balls an innings.

Where Harris stands out is in her fearsome boundary hitting.

Since the start of last year until the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup, she’s been Australia’s best at this particular skill.

A staggering 78% of her 179 runs came from hits to the fence. This figure is far and away the best of any Australian batter since the beginning of 2022.

With 20 fours and 10 sixes, Harris found the fence every 3.2 balls – an astonishing pace, and once again the runaway best for the World Cup holders in this time – and led ferocious ripostes following top order collapses.

The signature performance came in July 2022 against India in the first match of the Commonwealth Games.

With Australia struggling at 5-49 in a chase of 155, Harris joined Ash Gardner at the crease and blasted 37 (20). The stand with Gardner was worth 51 and Australia won by three wickets with an over to spare.

In Australia’s first Women’s T20 World Cup game against New Zealand on 11 February, Harris was on brand, striking three fours in an innings of 14 (6).

She might not get many hits in the rest of this World Cup – and sure enough, she watched on as Australia beat Bangladesh by eight wickets in their second game – but expect fours and sixes to rain with Harris at the crease – and a daring counter attack to follow.

Also read: Multan Sultans & Lahore Qalandars PSL 2023 Previews


The aggression of Shamima Sultana will be vital for Bangladesh in a tough Women’s T20 World Cup group alongside Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.

Since 2020, the wicketkeeper-batter has been Bangladesh’s quickest scorer in a team with few quick scorers. A strike rate of 111 is the highest of their frontline sticks in that time.

As an opener, Shamima will be key for setting the tone. She’s struggled for consistency – an average of 14 and just five double-digit scores in 12 innings since 2020 – but is a player of strategic importance to Bangladesh.

Not only is her overall strike rate well ahead of the other recognised batters, Shamima’s strike rate in her first five balls is also clear of her peers.

Overall T20I Strike Rate & First 5 Balls Strike Rate for Bangladesh Women since 2020
Bangladesh batters in T20Is since 2020 to eve of 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup

Right on cue, in their first game against Sri Lanka, Shamima blasted 20 (13). Bangladesh put on 48 in the first six.

As the quickest starter and quickest overall scorer in this Bangladesh side, Shamima will be depended upon to take control of the powerplay in a tournament where opening batters have shone.

Keep an eye out for more positive starts by Bangladesh in this World Cup – there’s a good chance it’ll be Shamima at the heart of them.


Since making her England debut in September 2022, Lauren Bell has distinguished herself as a disciplined and economical new ball operator.

In seven international games, including England’s 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup games against West Indies and Ireland, Bell has bowled a remarkable 55% of her deliveries for no runs.

Lauren Bell T20I bowling stats ahead of 2023 T20 World Cup
Lauren Bell in T20Is

As impressive as her overall figures is her consistency. On average, Bell sends down exactly 11 dot balls a game – a figure she reached in three of her seven games so far.

You can set your watch by her.

England are not short of bowling options, so despite opening the bowling in all her games, Bell has only bowled her full quota twice.

If she maintains her metronomic consistency throughout this World Cup, though, we’ll soon see Bell bowl out each game.


Recent Under-19 World Cup winner Richa Ghosh is fast becoming India’s most important T20 batter.

In 2022, she only faced 11 balls an innings on average but set a ferocious pace during her brief stays at the crease.

Ghosh went under four and a half balls between boundaries last year. A staggering 70% of her runs came from hits to the fence.

Richa Ghosh T20I batting stats in 2022 ahead of 2023 T20 World Cup
Richa Ghosh in T20Is in 2022

Boundary hitting has always been her strong suit, in fact. For the Hobart Hurricanes in 2021, Ghosh made 56.79% of her runs from fours and sixes.

For players with at least 100 runs in that season, Ghosh’s mark was a seriously impressive ninth on the list. She was ahead of Smriti Mandhana, Ash Gardner, and Alyssa Healy.

Ghosh began in style with a match-winning 31* (20) against Pakistan in India’s first Women’s T20 World Cup game. It was her seventh 20+ score at a strike of 150 or more since the start of last year.

Three of those scores were compiled at 200 or above.

India’s middle order has serious bite with Ghosh around. Her fearless, hard-hitting style will be critical to their hopes of winning their first World Cup crown.

Also read: Quetta Gladiators & Islamabad United PSL 2023 Previews


In the last three years, Orla Prendergast ranks second among Ireland batters for runs scored. Her 400 runs are behind only Gaby Lewis’ mammoth tally of 771.

Second behind Lewis is pretty good, but Prendergast is actually Ireland’s most important stick.

Compare by strike rates and Prendergast is top among Ireland’s nine highest scorers since 2020 at a coruscating 129.

Even more impressively, she has the third highest strike rate through the middle overs and the lowest dot ball percentage in this group.

In short, Prendergast is a strike rotator extraordinaire and a middle overs machine.

That middle overs strike rate of 117 looks even more impressive when you consider that Prendergast maintained that pace over 91 balls in overs 7 to 16 compared to Leah Paul’s 25.

In Prendergast, then, Ireland have a string puller especially adept at keeping things ticking over in the morass of the middle phase.

Over the last year, she’s really come into her own as a stick. Averaging 36 and striking at 133, she’s made both her T20I fifties (so far) in this time.

With Rebecca Stokell ruled out of the tournament through injury, the other batters will really need to step up. Prendergast will be counted on more than ever to keep Ireland’s motor running.

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New Zealand

Since her T20I debut in February 2020, Jess Kerr has been a key weapon in the White Ferns’ seam attack.

She usually shares the new ball, but the older Kerr’s biggest strength is keeping the runs down.

Going under five and half runs an over, her economy rate is the third-best for New Zealand from 2020 until the eve of the Women’s T20 World Cup, behind spinners Fran Jonas and Eden Carson.

 Jess Kerr T20I bowling stats since 2020 ahead of 2023 T20 World Cup
Jess Kerr in T20Is – debut to eve of 2023 T20 World Cup

Meanwhile, Kerr’s mark of 5.48 is leagues ahead of frontline seamers Hayley Jensen (27 innings/6.07 economy), Lea Tahuhu (21/6.11), Rosemary Mair (14/6.41), and Hannah Rowe (10/7.89).

In WBBL 08, Kerr impressed as a replacement player for the Brisbane Heat.

She began with the wickets of Alyssa Healy and Ash Gardner on her debut against a strong Sydney Sixers side. Her first season ended with six wickets from nine games at 30 and an economy of 6.17.

Kerr went even better in the 2022-23 Super Smash for Wellington Blaze. In seven games, she took 10 wickets at an economy of 5.57.

She can admittedly be a little hot and cold when it comes to taking wickets. Her international career began with six wicketless games in seven; the WBBL season for the Heat began with four wickets in three games and ended with three wicketless games.

But Kerr’s control is faultless. Since December 2018, her highest economy in a four-over spell in any T20 game is 7.5.

Kerr at the Women’s T20 World Cup

The White Ferns have suffered two crushing defeats in the Women’s T20 World Cup so far.

They began their campaign with a 97-run thrashing by Australia. This was followed by a 65-run defeat to South Africa two days later.

Kerr, however, acquitted herself reasonably well. She took 1/30 against Australia and was 0/26 against the hosts.


With just nine months in the T20 side, leg spinner Tuba Hassan has become Pakistan’s most effective slow bowler.

She bowls with outstanding control. An economy rate of 5.39 is the best for any Pakistan bowler since 2020, not just spinners.

Keeping things tight is her main strength but Tuba’s no slouch at collecting poles either.

Impressively, a wicket every 21.3 balls is the fourth best for Pakistan in the last three years – and it’s worth pointing out that Kainat Imtiaz’s mark comes from just six overs.

With Diana Baig out of the Women’s T20 World Cup due to injury, Pakistan have been dealt a blow.

A failure to muzzle Jemimah Rodrigues, Richa Ghosh, and Shafali Verma resulted in defeat to India in their first game after setting a healthy total.

On that evidence, Tuba should be at the top of any proposed list of changes. There’s no one better at stifling the runs in the Pakistan camp.

Also read: Karachi Kings & Peshawar Zalmi PSL 2023 Previews

South Africa

In Tazmin Brits, South Africa have an opener who bats big.

Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup hosts returned to action in January 2021.

From then until the eve of the World Cup, Brits is joint-third with Tahlia McGrath for 50+ scores (4) among players from World Cup teams.

The pair are behind only Smriti Mandhana (8), Gaby Lewis and Beth Mooney (both 6).

Brits’ average, meanwhile, is a very healthy 40.

Tazmin Brits T20I batting stats since 2021 ahead of 2023 T20 World Cup
Tazmin Brits in T20Is – since 2021 to eve of 2023 T20 World Cup

She almost always gets a start, too.

Including South Africa’s two Women’s T20 World Cup games so far, 11 of Brits’ 16 innings since 2021 are double-digit scores.

She’s had a quiet tournament so far, though, with scores of  12 and 1.

Interestingly, all of Brits’ career T20I fifties have all come against Group 2 teams and none against South Africa’s Group 1 opponents.

She’ll be keen to correct that, and her early World Cup form, as the Proteas continue to bounce back.

Sri Lanka

Kavisha Dilhari has been pretty quiet during Sri Lanka’s sensational start to the Women’s T20 World Cup, going two wins from two.

But over the last three years, the spinner is their most economical frontline bowler. She will be crucial for Sri Lanka’s progression in the tournament.

Kavisha Dilhari economy for Sri Lanka since 2020 ahead of 2023 T20 World Cup
Kavisha Dilhari economy rates in T20Is – since 2020 to eve of 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup | 22 Innings

Her economy rate of 5.66 is the second best for Sri Lanka since 2020 of the bowlers who have bowled a minimum of five overs.

Dilhari’s control is especially outstanding in the powerplay, going at under five an over in the first six.

Kavisha Dilhari dot ball % for Sri Lanka since 2020 ahead of 2023 T20 World Cup
Kavisha Dilhari dot ball % in T20Is – since 2020 to eve of 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup | 22 Innings

Just under 40% of her deliveries in this time yielded no runs.

Once again, the powerplay was her favourite phase of the game. A dot ball % of 45 is impressive, though her mark in the middle overs (41%) is above her overall mark as well.

Sri Lanka have all the weapons for an effective spin choke – and Dilhari is the most potent of the lot.

West Indies

She cracked a superb 42 in the West Indies’ first Women’s T20 World Cup game against England, but captain Hayley Matthews might actually be more valuable to her side with ball in hand.

Since 2020, Matthews has the most wickets for the Windies.

It’s not even close, in fact. Matthews’ 27 poles are 11 more than next best Shamilia Connell.

Hayley Matthews T20I bowling stats for West Indies since 2020 ahead of 2023 T20 World Cup
Hayley Matthews for West Indies in T20Is – 2020 to eve of Women’s T20 World Cup

Bu the most impressive figure in that list is the economy rate.

A mark of 5.67 is the best of any West Indies bowler in this time. It’s also better than other outstanding slow bowlers such as Amelia Kerr, Jess Jonassen, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Sarah Glenn, and Sneh Rana.

Include her three games for Barbados at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and that figure drops to 5.61.

For a struggling Melbourne Renegades side in WBBL 08, Matthews was similarly tidy.

Her nine wickets at an economy of 7.04 were the fourth best at the Gades. She did this while top scoring with 253 runs.

Over the last three years, Matthews epitomises ‘fine, I’ll do it myself.’


Header image: Bahnfrend/CC BY-SA 4.0/via Wikimedia Commons/

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